Professional Standards of Conduct Policy

(ARC-PA Standard B1.05, B2.04, C3.02)

Effective Date: 7/1/2017


When a student accepts admission into the UNR Med PA Studies Program it is assumed that the student thereby agrees to conduct him or herself in accordance with the professional and ethical standards that govern the physician assistant profession. Professional development is an objective of the UNR Med PA Studies Program. The program fosters students' development of this skill. PA students must conduct themselves in a highly professional manner consistent with the patient care responsibilities with which they will be entrusted during their training in the program. The Professional Standards of Conduct for UNR Med PA Studies Program outlines the expectations, assessment and consequences for violation of professional conduct.

The PA Studies Program has adopted the AAPA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the Physician Assistant Profession as the framework for our expected professional standards. The PA student's behavior should emulate that of the medical professional as described in the Code of Ethics:   


Students must meet the UNR Med PA Studies Program professionalism standards to progress and graduate. Students are expected to act in accordance with standards in the following six domains:


  • Accepts responsibility for educational challenges and self-learning.
  • Accepts corrections and feedback graciously and corrects shortcomings.
  • Respects instructors and their teaching endeavors.
  • Submits work of the highest standards of competence and skill.

Humanism and Cultural Competency

  • Engages in relationships with the external world.
  • Demonstrates respect, compassion and empathy for others.
  • Demonstrates sensitivity and responsiveness to culture, gender, age, disabilities and ethnicity of others.
  • Establishes cooperative relationships with others who have differences in opinion, philosophy, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity and language.


  • Punctual and prepared for all obligations.
  • Completes assigned tasks on time.
  • Maintains professional appearance in professional settings
  • Contributes to group work in a timely manner

Interpersonal and Communication Skills

  • Able to effectively relate to patients, peers and colleagues.
  • Maintains composure during adverse interactions or situations.
  • Communicates at a level that is appropriate for a given audience.
  • Demonstrates cooperation and collaboration, works well with authority figures, classmates and patients.

Ethical Behaviors

  • Maintains confidentiality standards.
  • Upholds the ethical principles of the PA profession.
  • Upholds University and Program rules, policies, laws, and NSHE conduct code (see Title 2, Section 10.2 of NSHE Code).
  • Does not engage in plagiarism, cheating, manipulating or falsehoods.
  • No evidence of substance abuse.
  • Complies with applicable laws and regulations.


  • Capacity to identify personal weaknesses and poor habits and seeks help from support services.
  • Demonstrates emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility.
  • Tolerance for ambiguity and anxiety, open to new experiences.
  • Demonstrates awareness of how their own behavior affects others and/or groups or organizations.

Dress Code

In keeping with the professional nature of the UNR Med PA Studies Program, all PA students are expected to dress in an appropriate manner when representing the program. Being well-groomed exemplifies a professional appearance. Clinical supervisors, preceptors, PA faculty, and/or instructor reserve the right to ask a student who is deemed to be inappropriately dressed to leave the classroom or clinical site. Each student is required to follow the dress code as outlined below:

  • White Coats: Student length (short) white coats will be worn in clinical settings unless instructed otherwise by the preceptor and/or instructor.
  • Clothing: Clothing in professional settings should not be torn, ripped, tight, short, see-through, low cut or expose the trunk with movement. Jeans, sweatshirts, and T-shirts are not considered professional attire and are not appropriate for patient care. Men are expected to wear ties at clinical sites unless instructed otherwise.
  • Shoes and Footwear: Open-toed shoes are not appropriate for patient care.
  • Perfume and Cologne: No perfumes, after-shave or colognes in clinical settings.
  • Jewelry: No excessive jewelry so as not to interfere with patient care.
  • Tattoos: Students should make all attempts to cover visible tattoos.
  • Hair: Hair should be clean and arranged so as not to interfere with providing patient care. Facial hair should be neatly trimmed.
  • Nails: Fingernails should be kept trimmed. Polish and/or artificial nails are not allowed in surgical settings or rotations.
  • Hats and Head Covering: Hats are not appropriate indoors. Head covers that are required for religious purposes or to honor cultural tradition are allowed.
  • Nametags and White Coats: It is mandatory to wear your white coat and nametag, which identify you as a UNR Med PA student, at all times.

Guidelines for classroom conduct

  • All devices must be silenced during class.
  • Texting and phone calls are prohibited.
  • Non-class related internet activity is prohibited during class.
  • Headsets or ear buds are not to be worn during class.
  • No open or covert recording of any kind is allowed in accordance with UNR policy. Exceptions must be approved by the instructor or the Disability Resource Center with the instructor's knowledge.
  • The course director has the discretion to modify these guidelines. Classroom expectations will be posted in the syllabus for each course.

Assessment of Professionalism

A standard rubric to evaluate professionalism will be used by course directors/instructors/preceptors as part of the grading component for each course. Students will be assessed on the six domains listed above. The rubric is located in the syllabus

Violation of Professional Standards of Conduct

Violation of the Professional Standards of Conduct represents a serious offense subject to course failure and/or dismissal from the program. Any violation of the standards will be documented by the faculty or staff witnessing the transgression, sent to the PA Student Progress Committee (SPC) and, based on the decision of the SPC, placed in the student's file. The SPC meets each month to discuss issues related to the academic performance and professionalism of all students in the program. Any professionalism violation may be considered to constitute grounds for disciplinary action in the discretion of the SPC, including academic probation or dismissal from the program. PA Professional Standards of Conduct Policy.

Special Issues

During the clinical experiences, there may be times when a student has disagreements with his/her supervisor concerning patient management. It is expected that this will be a rare event. Students must be respectful in their communication with peers, faculty and staff, the preceptor, patients and family members concerning these events and must never contradict a supervisor in a public setting. Disrespectful, demeaning, or otherwise inappropriate or unprofessional communication will not be tolerated and students violating this standard may be dismissed for the day. Students who violate this standard may be referred to the SPC.

Rev. 6/21/19